Getting students to and through college.

About Us


Our Mission

Higher Edge guides low-income and first-generation students through enrollment, retention, and graduation from college by providing the support and resources needed for success.

Meet The Team

Meet The Team

Gilbert Bonafé Jr. : Willimantic Site Director

Gilbert Bonafé Jr.

Willimantic Site Director

Before joining Higher Edge, Gilbert was part of a team making an app to assist community college students. Realizing his passion for Higher Education, Gilbert received his Master's from Harvard in the subject. He believes that education is the only way for students to break the cycle of poverty, a belief that he himself is living proof of.

Sandy Athenaise Durosier : Success Advisor

Sandy Athenaise Durosier

Success Advisor

Sandy joins Higher Edge as a Success Advisor from the University of New Haven where she received a Master's degree in Cellular & Molecular Biology. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 with a BA in Biology. Sandy believes that access to resources and opportunity are essential to pursue higher education especially amongst low-income and disadvantaged students. On her free time, she loves to watch dramatic and comedic TV shows, scary movies, crochet scarves, cook Haitian food, and travel.

Alicia Lavallee : Director of Programs

Alicia Lavallee

Director of Programs

A native of the West Coast, Alicia graduated from Western Washington University in 2008 with a BA in Social Studies and Elementary Education. Passionate about educational equality, Alicia moved across the country to become a corps member of Teach for America. After spending three years as an elementary school teacher in Hartford, she joined Higher Edge in 2012, and has played an integral role in the growth of the organization ever since. She believes education is the most important investment a person can make for their future and for their community.

Chris Soto : Founding Director

Chris Soto

Founding Director

Prior to launching Higher Edge, Chris finished his Master’s degree at Brown University. It was in Providence where he interned at College Visions and credits much of Higher Edge’s success to the valuable experience he had working with their team. Having earned his bachelor’s degree at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Chris returned to New London to continue his service to the community. He believes that a college degree is the fastest way to positively change the trajectory of a young person’s life as it did for him.

Nora Sternlof : Development Associate

Nora Sternlof

Development Associate

Nora is a recent graduate of Ursinus College, where she received a BA in English. A New London native, she hopes to serve the city she grew up in by helping its remarkable students gain access to information and support on their educational journeys. She believes that college is critical to increasing one’s opportunities and expanding one’s world, and that equalizing educational opportunities will lead to a stronger and more vibrant future for everyone..

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

  • Susan Jones (President) – Hoyt, Filippetti, Malaghan, LLC
  • Pam Luketich (Treasurer) – Chelsea Groton Bank
  • Christina Hodge (Secretary) – Mitchell College
  • Ruud Salym Erie – Evariant, Inc.
  • Jonathan Heller – U.S. Coast Guard Academy Institute for Leadership
  • Kristi Kelly – Susiman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law
  • Gladys Rivera-Griffin – New London Public Schools (Retired)
  • John Scott – Bailey Insurance Agencies
  • Adam Sprecace – Electric Boat